Tonight's talent packed hip-hop show at Berkeley's the Ashkenaz with Dub Esquire (left), Mel Yel, Baby Jaymes, Westacy, Mic T., The Dime, DJ Tim Diesel and Dj Kool-C, is further proof that the Bay Area indie hip-hop scene is in a healthy state.
This afternoon I caught up with both Baby Jaymes and the night's headliner emcee Dub Esquire -- both Oakland artists -- to ask them about tonight's show and also their take on the state of the local Bay Area music scene. Do they agree that it is in a very healthy state right now? Dub Esquire, who cited Mel Yel, Dirt Nasty, The Bayliens, Mic T, & The Dime (all of whom are on his new album Rap Starz, which also features such talents as Del the Funky Homosapien and Living Legends' Lucky I Am) as among his fave homegrown talent to perform alongside, and who believes that the Bay scene is doing great pointed out that, "The hip hop scene in the Bay is ever changing. I would like to see more diversity instead of the same cats all the time. It's cool and all, but you gotta test yo' grit with all walks."
Dub Esquire "Rapstarz (feat. Dirt Nasty & Del the Funky Homosapien)" (2011)
Baby Jaymes technically is a soul/RnB artist but he's definitely on the hip-hop tip (he's collaborated with numerous hip-hop artists such as Keak da Sneak, Balance, and Zumbi from Zion I). Tonight he'll have a DJ accompany him to maintain that "hip-hop atmosphere," and he also agreed that the local hip-hop scene is in a really healthy state right now but quickly noted that so too is the local soul/RnB music talent pool.
"I really enjoy Martin Luther and Silk E. I am a huge fan of both and am always entertained by their shows," said Baby Jaymes, who just recently released the infectious track "Heart & Soul." He added, "I just recently discovered the talents of Netta Brielle from PK's Golden Mean Management. She really has that star quality. I remember back in the day when I was coming up and working and studying under Dwayne Wiggins' Grass Roots Company, he took me and some others to meet and greet Destinys Child. Later that month we all went to see them perform. It sounds cliche but I swear on everything, I told him that the lead singer was going to be huge! She was the Michael Jackson of the group, her stage presence had so much power. Netta Brielle gives some of that -- an awesome presence!"
Baby Jaymes "Heart & Soul" (2011)As for what to expect at tonight's Ashkenaz show? "High energy, great music, and a great crowd of people," promised Dub Esquire. "Expect the unexpected," laughed Baby Jaymes. Note that rounding out tonight's entertainment will be Bay Area stand up comedian Tony Sparks, who will host the entire night of this all ages hip-hop show. Doors are 9pm. Show starts at 9:30pm and goes until 1am. Admission is $5 before 10pm and $8 thereafter. The Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center is located at 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702. More venue info here.